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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 229263 Find in a Library
Title: Grass Molecular Identification System for Forensic Botany: A Critical Evaluation of the Strengths and Limitations
Journal: Journal of Forensic Sciences  Volume:54  Issue:6  Dated:November 2009  Pages:1254-1260
Author(s): Jodi Ward, Ph.D.; Simon R. Gilmore, Ph.D.; James Robertson, Ph.D.; Rod Peakall, Ph.D.
Date Published: November 2009
Page Count: 7
Sponsoring Agency: Australian Federal Police
Canberra City, ACT 2601, Australia
Australian National University
Canberra ACT 0200, Australia
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper reports on the design of a DNA-based molecular identification system for 100 Australian grasses that consisted of a series of polymerase chain reaction assays that enabled the progressive identification of grasses to different taxonomic levels.
Abstract: The study demonstrated “proof of concept” of a molecular identification system for trace botanical samples. The assessment suggests that the adoption of a system that combines this approach with DNA sequencing could assist the morphological identification of grasses found as forensic evidence. Grasses were used as the model species in this study because they are among the plant species most likely to be encountered as forensic trace evidence. Grasses have considerable potential as contact DNA evidence and could provide links between crime scenes and individuals, because they are plentiful in both urban and rural environments that are frequently used by people, as well as the grass spikelet’s morphological adaptations for seed dispersal. The identification system developed for the 100 Australian grasses was based on DNA sequence variation in 4 chloroplast and 2 mitochondrial loci. Seventeen informative indel and 68 single-nucleotide polymorphisms were used as molecular markers for subfamily identification. The system’s accuracy was confirmed by blind tests. The description of methods addresses the study system; sampling; DNA extraction, PCR, and DNA sequencing; location of variation; and primer design and optimization of taxon-specific molecular markers. 1 table, 2 figures, and 54 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Australia; DNA fingerprinting; Forensic sciences; Plant analysis
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